This rack is a bass instrumental rack, which contain six audio effects on it. Mostly, this rack was influenced by alternative rock bands, especially their bassists. A lot of alternative rock bassists are really experimental in their songs and also in their live performances. I am really suitable with this style of sound, because I am also a person who really wants to express my playing style with diverse sounds and even peculiar sounds. Ableton really help us to express our playing style with many effects which is really a broad option to choose. This custom rack I made is to become a versatile and useful bass sound for alternative rock genre.
Six audio effects are included in this rack, which are Auto Filter, Frequency Shifter, Overdrive, Phaser, Compressor, and also Dynamic Tube. To make an alternative rock bass sound, Overdrive is really needed in this rack, because it is a vital effect to make the sound more grungy and also the essential feel of rock music where every people admit it as well. Phaser, Dynamic Tube and Frequency Shifter are the interesting effects which give the sound more ‘alternative’ and also experimental. To avoid monotonous, Frequency Shifter is the one who work on it, it give a kind of wavy tone for the rack. Phaser is a great effect where you can modify the tone of your rack more funky and unique as well.
I put an example of Muse bassist, Christian Wolstenholme as my inspiration and influence my music experience all this time. According to Houser (2009), Chris has used a lot of distortion effects in either studio or live performance. It is the characteristic of rock music. He also used many effects to support his style of alternative rock music for his live performances (jimdunlopusa 2010). He is really inspiring me how to express ourselves through sounds which is really unique for me.
I put 5 settings into the macro knobs in my custom rack. Phaser, overdrive and frequency shifter are three effects where I put their ‘dry/wet’ setting into the macro knobs to manage how much we want the effects to work on this rack. We can also overlap each effect onto another one to make the sound more diverse. For example, a combination of overdrive and frequency shifter will match perfectly to make a funky rock bass line. But, I put the frequency filter and Mallet stiffness for another reason. Frequency filter can be used for cut the low frequency and emphasize the high frequency for some situations. For example, it can be used when drum feeling in between the verse and chorus or the opposite as well. Mallet stiffness is really great to adjust how soft or hard do you want the tone of this rack will be.
This rack could be really useful for either live performance or studio recording as well. With this Ableton custom rack, I fulfilled my experimental desire and apply it in this custom rack as an ‘alternative rock’ but also can become a funky rock bass rack.
DunlopTV – Muse Bass Tech, Shane Goodwin 2010, video, jimdunlopusa, California, 21 April.
Houser, B 2009, MUSE: Bassist Chris Wolstenholme | Progressive Rock Update With Brad Houser, Bass Musician Magazine, viewed 13 April 2015, <http://bassmusicianmagazine.com/2009/08/muse-bassist-chris-wolstenholme-progressive-rock-update-with-brad-houser/>.